Kimberly Elise Biography

Kimberly Elise photo

Born: April 17, 1967


Date of Birth: April 17, 1967

From Queen Latifah and Denzel Washington to Meryl Streep and Danny Glover, actress Kimberly Elise has worked with some of Hollywood's biggest stars. It's a pretty impressive feat for a woman who revealed in a 2010 BET interview that she has never studied the craft or taken a class in the art of acting.

Born in Minneapolis, Kimberly Elise Trammel won her first onscreen role in a 1995 episode of the series Newton's Apple and followed that up with a part in an episode of the comedy series In the House with LL Cool J, also in 1995.

Her feature film debut was in the 1996 crime drama Set it Off with Queen Latifah, Jada Pinkett Smith and Vivica A. Fox. Kimberly plays Tisean 'T.T.' Williams in the movie.

Two years later, the actress won a role in Jonathan Demme's film Beloved, which is based on a Toni Morrison novel. The Oscar-nominated drama stars Oprah Winfrey and Danny Glover, and for her work in the movie, Kimberly picked up the 1999 Chicago Film Critics Award for Most Promising Actress. During her 2010 BET interview, she called Beloved the "most magical filmmaking experience."

In 2000, Kimberly worked with Jamie Foxx in the action comedy Bait and in 2001, took a part in the TV movie Bojangles, which profiles the life of African-American tap-dancing star Bill "Bojangles" Robinson. The latter project was nominated for two Emmys.

With the 2002 drama John Q, Kimberly began a collaborative relationship with star Denzel Washington. The pair would work together numerous times over the years.

In 2003, she teamed up with Tracee Ellis Ross for two episodes of the comedy series Girlfriends and in the following year, starred as Michelle Jordan in the drama Woman Thou Art Loosed with Loretta Devine. The film is about one woman's journey of coming to terms with a history of addiction, abuse and poverty. For her powerful performance, Kimberly earned a Best Actress nomination at the Independent Spirit Awards.

Also in 2004, she reteamed with Denzel for Jonathan Demme's political drama The Manchurian Candidate. The Golden Globe-nominated film also stars Meryl Streep and Liev Schreiber.

Kimberly returned to TV in 2005 as Maureen Scofield in the drama series Close to Home. She starred in all 43 episodes of the show, which wrapped in 2007.

She nabbed a Best Actress BET Comedy Award in 2005 for her funny work in Diary of a Mad Black Woman, which is written by Tyler Perry and also stars him, Shemar Moore and Cicely Tyson. Two years later, she acted in an episode of Private Practice with Kate Walsh and Taye Diggs, acted alongside Terrence Howard and Bernie Mac in the sport film Pride, and again worked with Denzel in the biopic The Great Debaters, which chronicles the life of Melvin B. Tolson.

In 2009, Kimberly acted in another biopic. She worked on the TV movie Gifted Hands: The Ben Carson Story, which stars Cuba Gooding Jr. and was nominated for four Emmys. She plays Sonya Carson in the film about the world famous neurosurgeon. Also in 2009, she appeared in three episodes of Grey's Anatomy.

Kimberly reunited with Tyler Perry for the 2010 drama For Colored Girls, which also stars Janet Jackson, Whoopi Goldberg, Thandie Newton and Kerry Washington, before having a major year in 2013. She began work on the VH1 romance series Hit the Floor, acted in the dramedy Highland Park with Danny Glover and Parker Posey, and took a part in the thriller Event 15 with Jennifer Morrison.

In 2014, she teamed up with Whoopi Goldberg and Ving Rhames for the TV movie A Day Late and a Dollar Short. The following year, she acted in Rick Famuyiwa's Dope and starred in Back to School Mom with Denzel and Loretta Devine. The latter film is about a 41-year-old woman who returns to college to earn her degree, and in the process becomes friends with a male student whom she later learns is the son she gave up 20 years earlier.

Kimberly shared the screen with Kerry Washington again in the 2016 TV movie Confirmation, which was nominated for two Emmys, and also played one of Danny Glover's daughters in the ensemble comedy Almost Christmas.

In 2018, she played Detective Jackson in Eli Roth's crime drama Death Wish with Bruce Willis, Elisabeth Shue and Vincent D'Onofrio.

Kimberly, who has two daughters from her former marriage to Maurice Oldham, is a vegan and has her own website devoted to natural living. Launched in 2014, is "intended to inspire readers to live conscience lives" and features content related to "natural beauty, wellness and healthy living."


Death Wish (2018)
Hellbent (2016)
Almost Christmas (2016)
Back to School Mom (2015)
Dope (2015)
Event 15 (2013)
Highland Park (2013)
Ties That Bind (2011)
For Colored Girls (2010)
The Great Debaters (2007)
Pride (2007)
Diary of a Mad Black Woman (2005)
The Manchurian Candidate (2004)
Woman Thou Art Loosed (2004)
John Q (2002)
Bait (2000)
Beloved (1998)
Set It Off (1996)
  Change Location